Officials Urge the Public to Take All Precautions
October 24, 2021…St. James Hospital reported a record high number of COVID inpatients, and urges the community to continue taking all precautions to stay safe.
“As of Friday, seventy percent of our inpatient beds were occupied by COVID-positive patients, the most since the start of the pandemic,” said Bryan O’Donovan, SJH president and CEO. “We also are seeing record numbers of patients seeking care in our Urgent Care center, Primary Care clinic, and Emergency department.”
SJH officials are concerned about the recent increase.
“Normally we see a surge in respiratory illness in the fall with the return to school,” said Bilal Ahmed, MD and SJH chief medical officer. “This year has been particularly alarming, as a growing percentage of all respiratory illness is COVID positive and patients are coming into our clinics much sicker than usual.”
Dr. Ahmed urges the public to continue taking precautions and not to delay seeking care.
“Even though we all are feeling ‘pandemic burnout’, it’s still important to protect yourself,” he said. “Wear a mask in public places, wash your hands frequently, get your flu shot, and get the COVID vaccine and/or the booster. The vast majority of our COVID inpatients are unvaccinated. Most importantly, don’t delay seeking care if you have symptoms and stay in touch with your primary care provider.”
County and city officials have recently opened COVID testing services and SJH leadership is grateful for the collaborative efforts. SJH does not offer walk-in or asymptomatic testing unless the provider determines there is a need.
O’Donovan commends the SJH team members for their commitment to the community and the hospital throughout the pandemic.
“We have a dedicated and excellent team, both in clinical and non-clinical areas,” he said. “Many of our team members have recently worked extra shifts and covered in departments that are short-handed. They clearly demonstrate their commitment to keeping our community safe, and we thank each and every one of them for their dedication and support.
O’Donovan also expressed gratitude to community members for their ongoing support, and for their patience when visiting SJH clinics, as the hospital is experiencing significantly high volumes due to the pandemic.